Richmond Rugby League
THE club didn't have a very enjoyable day at Lismore on Sunday against Marist Brothers.
There is a distinct lack of atmosphere at this venue with a small crowd in attendance and exacerbated by the distance of the viewing area from the field of play.
The day started off with an entertaining Under-18 clash which saw Marist Bros leading 16-4 at half-time.
Our sole try in the first half came from a 40-metre run from Khan Williams who fended off three defenders in a powerful run to the tryline.
Second-half tries went to Carson Galloway who showed good stepping ability to thread his way to the line and another from Williams who scored from dummyhalf.
The junior Ghosts fought their way back to 16-14 against, however in their attempt to snatch a last minute victory, a loose ball picked up by a defender saw Marist score a try as the siren sounded to inflate the score to 22-14.
Tom McInnes was the players' player for the day. Tom has only recently returned from injury sustained to his knee in an Under-16 match in 2004 and looks to be a good first-grade player of the future.
The poor old reggies turned up with only 11 senior players and had to once again call on Mark Carney and Scott Bennett from the juniors to fill the gaps.
A number of our first-grade players seeing their dilemma changed into their playing gear and had short stints on the field in this grade to help out.
The team failed to trouble the scoreboard attendant, while Marist Bros piled on 58 points, but we never gave up trying.
Unlucky Scott Gaddes sustained another injury to his leg but hopefully it is not found to be too serious.
Dion Donnelly played well and picked up the players' player award.
The first-grade game never reached any great heights but our team tried hard all day.
Marist Bros seemed to have too much speed for our guys and did everything a little quicker.
Aaron Marscham showed his class with some good running and made big inroads into the defence.
His centre partner Travis Daley continued his good form with clever passes and was rewarded with a try half way through the first half.
Trent Lawrence also played well and made a mountain of tackles.
Phil Warby sustained a leg injury and left the field before half-time and could not return.
Scott Bennett completed a big day by taking the field with the starting side on the wing and having a strong game.
Captain Matt Michael tried to inspire his troops with his charges into the defence and the other players tried their best against the odds.
Congratulations to Joel Pearce and his partner Kylie on the birth of their second daughter, Yakia.
Joel has been a dedicated player for the Ghosts, always turning up for training and was rewarded with selection in first grade for Sunday's game.
Danny Wicks was in town last week due to St George having the weekend bye and it was good to see him turn up at training to run with the teams and offer them the benefit of his NRL experience.
Next week's game will be away against Byron Bay and hopefully there will be a few more players returning to the camp for this game.
Ghosts trivia: Our committeeman and trainer Andrew 'Woody' Woods has been involved with the Ghosts senior club for nearly 20 years, following a number of years playing with the junior league teams and participating in the finals on one occasion.
He played Under-18s while still an Under-16 player in 1987 and went on to play Under-18s the following year and reserve grade from 1989 to 1998, coming off the bench in first grade on a number of occasions.
He has been on the committee for about 10 years and trainer since 2001.
A dedicated trainer, Woody would add to his fitness levels by running to training from Junction Hill.
I'm told he was a fearless defender but remembers one time he felt intimidated and that was by a 'glare' he received from captain and team-mate, Tony Muller, when he lost the ball in a tackle with the line wide open and only centimetres away.
Much of his time is now spent with his other love, the racehorse Starlactic, which he part owns and helps to strap.
As his early life was spent on a dairy farm he has no trouble getting to the stables early in the morning to carry out his duties.
Starlactic responds by giving him a good kick or a bite when he is not looking.
Woody is quietly confident of the horse's chances in this year's Ramornie and the club's best wishes for success go to all the connections.
? GARRY BERRY.
LAST Sunday the Magpies hosted the Casino Cougars in all three grades at the Yamba Sports Complex.
The Under-18s were without several key players; this gave other players opportunities to perform well to cement positions as we head towards the semis.
As was expected a slow start from the Magpies as a lot of the players were backing up from Thursday night at South Grafton, so at the half-time break, the Magpies led 12-8.
As has been shown in past games the junior Magpies can go on and take out the game.
Casino had other ideas and controlled the second half with commitment and cruised to the lead, and never looked back with the final score being Casino 24 defeating the Magpies 12. Try scorers for the Magpies were Tom Martin and Lenny Anderson with one each, and Jackson Philp kicking two goals.
Magpies players' player was Jackson Philp, with the best and fairest three points going to Jackson Philp, (2) Chris Barber, (1) Guy Barlow.
Reserve grade started as expected ? big hits from both sides and free-flowing rugby league, with Casino going to the half-time break leading the Magpies 26-12.
The second half was similar to the first, and Casino finished the stronger team by defeating the Magpies 50-22. Try scorers for the Magpies where Daine Laurie, Damien Randall, Nathan Kelly and Brett Laurie with one each. Brett had been out of action for eight weeks due to an operation.
He has come back, played a full game of reserves then kindly put his hand up to sit for first grade and ended up playing over 40 minutes ? well done, Brett, keep up the dedication.
Chase Williams kicked three goals.
Magpies players' player was Brett Laurie, best and fairest three points went to Brett Laurie, two points to Boe Hayne, one point to Andrew Avery.
First grade was always going to be a beauty ? and it was ? from start to finish. It had everything and the Magpies biggest crowd of the season was well entertained.
The first half was as quick as you will see, and through great team-work the Magpies led 20-10 at half-time.
China's half-time talk was positive, stressing a renewed commitment for the second half was needed as Casino will not give up, but unfortunately injuries had already affected the playing strength of the Magpies, and the second stanza was going to be the toughest test of Magpie character needed this season.
What a half of footy it was ? every bit as tough as the first half with players on both sides giving everything. The Magpies led with three minutes to go and a committed Casino crashed over and went to the lead.
The Magpies tried a short kick-off and it was not good enough ? in fact a draw would have been a great result for the game, but not to be, the Casino Cougars ran out winners to the tune of 26-24.
Try scorers for the Magpies where Ryan Binge with one, Ben McDonald and Jason Wilkinson crossing for two each, with Jason Wilkinson kicking two goals.
Magpies players' player was Jason Wilkinson, best and fairest three points went to Jason Wilkinson, two points to Ben McDonald, and one point to Ryan Binge.
This week the Magpies will have the bye, and the next home game will be played on the Maclean Showground, Saturday, July 15, against Byron Bay.
? GARRY ANDERSON.